Oscar Pistorius is off to a good start at the 2012 Summer Paralympics, setting a new world record Saturday in his 200m heat. The 25-year-old South African, who competed in the 400m and 4x400m relay at the London Olympic Games, won his heat in 21.30 seconds, shaving more than half a second off the previous record set by Brazilian Alan Oliveira in an earlier heat.
“I’m so happy to be back here. This crowd is as awesome as they were a couple of weeks ago. I’m happy with the time and tomorrow is the big race and I am looking forward to that,” he said, according to Reuters.
The Paralympics 200m defending champion told BBC he didn’t “expect a world record” but said he hopes to “go lower” at the finals on Sunday. Pistorius, who was born without a fibula in both legs and wears carbon fiber prosthetic blades to compete, made history this year when he became the first double amputee to run in the Olympics.
Competing against able-bodied athletes, Pistorius made it to the semifinals of the individual 400-meter and the 400-meter relay final.
At the Paralympics, Pistorius will be competing in the 100m, 200m and 400m races,CNN reports. According to Reuters, Pistorius’ “scorching time has given him confidence that he might be able tocomplete the clean sweep as he did in China four years ago.“ However, the sprinter admitted that conquering the 100m may prove to be a challenge.
“A world record tonight so we will see what happens, but the 100m is not my event,” said Pistorius, who will also be competing as part of South Africa’s 4X100m relay team.